Because I both want to literally and figuratively run on a treadmill at the same time, I sometimes watch the Food Network while I'm at the gym. A few weeks ago, Guy Fieri was preparing his Christmas meal, and his dessert was an ice cream sandwich made with vanilla ice cream and ginger snap cookies.
(Sidebar: On Guy Fieri's cooking show, he has not one, but two refrigerators. Both of them are painted with racing stripes. In the background, the entire time, there was video of a guy doing that thing where you skydive with a snowboard. I think its called doucheboarding. The show should change its name to "WTF? with Guy Fieri.")
Guy Fieri's wankery aside, those ginger snap ice cream sammies looked delicious. MUST HAVE. I made them. Here's how you can. And just in time for all your holiday get togethers*.
I have only one requirement for mac and cheese: that it be all melty. There is a story behind this, of course. It involves my decision not to eat carbs (in retrospect, kind of a crappy one) in an attempt to shed some pounds (now, I just go to the gym). I was going crazy, looking at a giant crock pot full of mac and cheese that Mom had made for Jesse and Suzi. I wanted it. She said she'd make me a cheesesteak meat with all kinds of cheese on it. I had only one question: "Can you make it all melty?"
The rest, as they say, is history. My mom's mac & cheese became Jim's Mom's Super Melty Mac & Cheese. And it's amazingly easy to make. You'll need a big crock pot/slow cooker -- the bigger the better.
16 oz. Elbow Macaroni
5 to 6 cups of cubed cheese (recommended mixture: Colby, Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar, Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp)
I have a bean problem. My girlfriend calls me Jimmy Bean all the time, and I really like baked beans. But I can be lazy, which leads to me buying Bush's at the supermarket, and I'm freaking tired of buying crap from George W. Bush. So when I saw the bean episode of Good Eats a few months back and saw the "Once and Future Beans" recipe I was decided that it was my mission in life to make these beans.
But I didn't have a cast iron Dutch Oven. So I put things on hold. I mentioned it to my mom (who is, as previously discussed, the best president on the ObscureCraft Mt. Rushmore of cooking), and she said "Oh, we have one. I've been using it for a decoration, I'll bring it up."
Well, it wasn't a dutch oven. It was a Scotch Bowl, which is kind of like a Dutch Oven, but is more of a half-sphere design rather than a cylinder. Regardless, it was a Griswold, it had a lid, and it seemed to be in immaculate condition. We gave Scotchy a good seasoning the other week, as was outlined in the last Into the Ovens feature. Now, you don't need a cast iron Dutch Oven or Scotch Bowl to make these beans, but it helps. At a minimum, you do need a vessel that you can use on the stovetop and in the oven, with a fitted lid.
Anyhoo, on to the recipe! Alton Brown's Baked Beans, ala Elisa and Jim. We actually followed the TV recipe to a 't', but the version on the Food Network web site has a major, crucial, ridiculous error, so ala.
Previously in Into the Ovens, I suggested a vegetarian alternative to my environmentally friendly lunch of peanut butter and jelly. Today, we're going to stay with the nut butter and jelly theme, but we're going to change which nuts are going into your mouth every day. We're going to make cashew butter.
Why make it instead of just buying cashew butter? Because the Daily Show has been on break for two weeks and I've been watching Alton Brown every night, that's why. And guess what? Alton Brown doesn't buy anything he can make himself. He makes his own mayonnaise. He makes his own crab cakes. He makes his own yogurt AND his own yogurt-maker. He makes his own liquid motherfucking smoke, okay? And he makes his own cashew butter. And now I make my own cashew butter.
This is an easy Alton Brown recipe. My plan is to work my way up to some of his more complicated recipes, where you are half chef and half MacGuyver, making cooking vessels out of household items and stuff you order from a chemistry lab catolog. But not yet. We will start out simple with some cashew butter.
Hola y bienvenudos, muchachos! Today we will continue our exploration of cuisine inspired by Houston eating establishments that operate out of run down shacks. The inspiration for today's dish, Elote Con Crema (which I think roughly translates as "corn jizz") comes from a type of eating establishment I just learned about, called a refresqueria. Again, my Spanish is not so great, but I think refresqueria is Spanish for "creepy guy in a trailer."
If you watch the Maury show then you'll be familiar with the power of a well executed chicken tetrazzini. If you don't then just watch this recap from The Soup:
Giada De Laurentiis. So let's get cooking.
9 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 boneless chicken breast
2 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 1/4 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper
1 pound of white mushrooms, sliced
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
4 cups of whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup of heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
1 cup of chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
12 ounces of linguine
3/4 cup of frozen peas
1/4 cup of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cups of dried Italian-style breadcrumbs
Got all of that? Before we start let's talk about these ingredients a bit. I copied this from Giada's recipe, but feel free to add your own touch. This is what I did. I only had 3 chicken breasts so that's how many I used. Also, only douchebags measure out their salt and pepper...so if you were unsure about your status that's a good litmus test. Next I only used 10 oz. of mushrooms because that's how many Rose bought at the grocery store, and I wouldn't have called my onion "large"...perhaps just overweight on the WiiFit scale. And finally I used all dried herbs. In my opinion fresh herbs add much more aroma than flavor when compared to dried herbs, and in a dish like this with a lot of other flavors fresh herbs weren't necessary.
OK...enough ingredient pep-talk. Your cheating man is probably getting hungry so preheat your oven to 450. DO IT! PREHEAT IT ALL OF YOU TREE HUGGERS! Then take some of that butter (1 tbsp) and spread it all over that 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Make sure it is well lubed. I assume that you are familiar with this technique in one way or another.
Then set that baby off to the side and melt another tablespoon of butter in 1 tbsp of oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Then salt and pepper your breasts. You know, flavor them a bit. Then wait until that butter starts sizzling and then drop those bad boys in the pan. When one side is cooked then flip them. Giada says 4 minutes per side...I say flip them when they are just cooked because mine were still a little raw after 4 minutes. Use your brain. They should look something like this:
Yum right? When they're ready take them out and put them in a big ass bowl. Make sure to keep the delicious chicken juice in the pan. Let them cool enough so you can touch them without being burned. Remember, the longer you wait the smaller your balls get. Then take two forks and shred that chicken. It's OK to have a few big chunks. Nothing's wrong with chunks. CHUNK! I think is a fun word to say. When it looks like this then your good.
See the chunks. Anyway, add another tbsp of butter and oil to the chicken pan. You didn't turn off the stove right? You did, didn't you? Back to medium-high please. Then add the mushrooms. Are you thinking that they won't all fit? Don't worry, when cooked mushrooms shrink like a dick in a pool. They'll all fit. After 12 minutes (thus saith Giada) or when the mushroom juice is out and they're all golden brown add the onions, garlic, and thyme. Sautee until the onions are translucent (8 minutes on Giada time) and look like this.
Then get ready to sizzle. Add that wine and get a buzz from the fumes. Cook away until the wine evaporates (2 mins) and everything looks like this.
Then pour this into the chicken bowl. Yum!
I'm sure you didn't turn off the range again...you're not that stupid. So now turn the flame down to medium-low. We're going to make one of the coolest things (I think) in cooking. A roux. (This is a French word and we all know that French words make NO sense. It's pronounced "roo" like "kangaroo" or "Ru Paul rues the day that he and/or she attempted to make a roux".) Now Giada is retarded because she says to mixed 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup of flour. THAT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE! Rouxs (is that the plural?) are made from equal parts fat and flour and 1/3 cup is not equal to 3 tbsp, so I don't know what she's talking about. The purpose of the roux is to thicken a sauce, but if you don't do it right you get gross clumpy things. I would recommend to use less flour since there is already a lot of butter in this dish. (Also don't use reduced fat butter like me...you'll have to remake the sauce.)
OK...enough about roux. Put an equal amount of butter and flour in the pan and get our your trusty whisk and whisk the butter and flour. After a minute or so add the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, and some more salt and pepper. Here's what the sauce should look like at this point.
Now turn up the heat to high, cover the pan, and bring the sauce to a boil. Then lower the heat, uncover the sauce, and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring with the whisk occasionally. Once your sauce looks like this then you're done.
While all of this was going on you cooked your pasta right? Dumbass. Cook it. No I'm not telling you how to do it retard. After you figure it out and cook it, add it to the chicken-mushroom bowl. Also add the parsley and peas and then the sauce. Toss it all like a salad so everything is coated by the sauce. Then transfer it all to the baking dish. Remember that thing that you lubed up a while ago. Spead it out until it looks like this.
Now mix together the breadcrumbs and cheese and sprinkle it over the pasta mixture. Finally cut up the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and drop it on top of everything. It will help keep it moist and brown it up a bit. Now slide that baby into the oven (you did preheat it right Jesse?) and bake it for 25 minutes or until it's golden brown on top and the sauce is bubbly. Then eat it and have crazy home-wrecking sex.
[Part one of my pad thai recipe, which I stole from a lady on Throwdown With Bobby Flay, is here.]
Yesterday I revealed the first great secret of pad thai: the sauce. Today I reveal the second: the noodles. (I assume you have all already mastered the third great secret of pad thai, which is don't be Bobby Flay.) We start with ingredients.
You may remember a few years ago, at the peak of the Iron Chef craze, there was a huge battle in New York between Bobby Flay and Iron Chef Morimoto. If you remember anything about the battle, you remember this: Bobby Flay disgraced himself and his country by STANDING ON THE CUTTING BOARD AT THE END OF THE MATCH.
Morimoto (rightly) called out Bobby Flay for this disrespectful display. Naturally, when Bobby Flay and Morimoto rematched in Kitchen Stadium, Bobby Flay did it again. Why? Because Bobby Flay is a DOUCHEBAG*.
Skip to 3:20 to see Bobby Flay disgrace himself in the New York battle, and 4:20 to watch Morimoto call him out.
The Suze is back with another delicious baking recipe. And this one is even more Hispanic than the last one! If you are into that sort of thing. We'll be making a Tres Leches cake, aka the Three Milks of Melquiades Estrada.
Why is that picture so dark? Well, legend has it that a few years ago, when the new Westpark Tollway was being built, the Texas Department of Transportation had purchased all of the right-of-way they needed except for one little plot at the end of the road. On this plot stood a little burger shack. TxDOT tried and tried to get the little burger shack to sell, but they weren't interested. "Sell us your plot," TxDOT cried, "or we'll build the highway right over you!" "Go ahead," replied the burger shack. "Build the highway over us. People will still come to our burger shack, and they will eat in the shade."
And eat in the shade they do. The place has it all - buffalo meat, Boylan creme soda, an incredible run-down shack, and an off-the-charts burger patty melt. Rye bread, buffalo meat, American cheese, fried onions and jalapenos, and special sauce.
They also have an incredible jalapeno potato salad. This recipe marks my first attempt to reproduce it at home. But it will not be the last.
And if you are asking, "But Jesse: the burger shack is so close to where you live, and the jalapeno potato salad only costs 99 cents. Why not just go there and buy it?" The answer is this. You cannot go to Bubba's Texas Burger Shack just to buy jalapeno potato salad. You might think that's what you are doing, but the next thing you know you have a half-pound of burger crammed into your face, and you weigh 400 pounds. Be warned.
Well, good news, polar bear cubs! I don't have to eat PB&J everyday, and neither do you. The point is that there is anything special or magical about PB&J, but rather that you just avoid eating meat. So any vegetarian meal will do. This week I made curried lentils and vegetables, aka liberal douchebag meal that manages to be enviro-conscious and ethnically diverse at the same time. Enjoy!
I had to stop by the supermarket yesterday on the way home from work. I had run out of tortillas for my delicious pulled pork, and I had run out of peanut butter. So I get in the express line with my peanut butter, and my 20 flour tortillas. The cashier gives me an odd little smile.
On my way to the car, I realize: the cashier thought I was buying dinner. A recession-inspired dinner of flour tortillas and peanut butter.
Before we begin, I need to set the record straight. I have never, nor would I ever, talk smack about Jim's mom or her delicious cooking, despite what he might have you believe. Here is what I actually said:
"[U]p until a few years ago, the undisputed champion of cooking in my life
was Jim's mom. Unfortunately, after the first Thanksgiving we spent in
Florida, Jim's mom had to cede the title to Suzi's sister Sandra."
See? No smack talk. But even so, I would like to amend this statement. It was wrong of me to imply that there was a title or championship to be the best cook. Do we argue over whether Thomas Jefferson or Abe Lincoln is the best president? No, we just put them both on Mount Rushmore and call it a day. So I hereby declare that Jim's Mom and Sandra both go on the ObscureCraft Mount Rushmore of cooking, and hopefully we can put this ugly business behind us.
If you are looking to get yourself onto the Mount Rushmore of cooking, here is the first requirement: no matter how many people show up in your house, and no matter what time of the day or night it is, you must always have delicious food ready for them to eat. Such was the case with the very first pulled pork sandwiches. A group of 9 people made a pit stop at Jim's parents house on the way from Albany, NY to Naples, Florida. It was 11 o'clock at night, and out comes Jim's mom with a tray full of pulled pork wrapped up in flour tortillas. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is how you get it done.
When I go to the supermarket next on Saturday, I will be getting the ingredients for my next recipe. But what, pray-tell, should it be? I leave it to you, my readers, to decide. Voice your opinion in the comments section.
Larry's Legal-Trouble Spaghetti Sauce Larry's Sausage Peppers and Onions Jim's Mom's Pulled Pork Suzi Makes Cookies From Dough Out of a Tube
I asked Suzi what this recipe was called, and she didn't know. It is another recipe from Sandra, which means that much of the truth of this dish is lost in translation, including actual ingredients, amounts, and in this case, even the name. Credit Kevin with noticing the similarities between this dish and tiramisu. Layers of cookies, cream mixed with alcohol, and deliciousness. Bam! Tiramisuzi. I'll take it. And then I will shove it all in my mouth, because it is delicious.
This is the recipe moment you have all been waiting for. Oh, yes: table cream is back. And it brought a friend.
What's better than getting together with your Jewish mother for Christmas? Serving pork chops!
The ban on pork is the most ridiculous part of Judaism (and remember, Judaism includes a ritual where the entire family gets together to watch a baby boy's penis mutilated. Hungry yet?) It's like having a ban on candy, or fun, or love. Pork is the most versatile of all meats. So pigs are a little dirty. That is why Moses invented soap. Wash it and eat it!
Daytrader makes the best pork chops. After feasting on government pork during a busy day on the trading floor, nothing is better than coming home to a big plate of delicious battered actual pork. Here is his recipe for Trading Floor Pork Chops.
With apologies to my mom and Suzi, there has never been anyone regularly in my life that could cook well. I've had brushes with greatness - up until a few years ago, the undisputed champion of cooking in my life was Jim's mom. Unfortunately, after the first Thanksgiving we spent in Florida, Jim's mom had to cede the title to Suzi's sister Sandra.
But in Jim's mom's defense, she never had a chance against table cream.
If I may quote the name of the Facebook group I just created: "Table Cream makes food taste like magic." It's true. But don't take my word for it - try it for yourself. Here is Sandra's table cream-tastic recipe for Freaky Fricasse.